MARCH 2011

Seven projects recognized in competition honoring uses of job order contracting

From constructing a replica of an Afghan marketplace used for anti-terrorism training to restoring the Buddy Holly Center, seven regional construction projects were named “Best of the Best” in their competition for the Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence in job order contracting. Representing facility owners from the United States and Canada, these winners competed in a field of thousands of 2010 projects that used the construction-procurement system, job order contracting, to complete repair, alteration and maintenance projects.

The Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence recognizes excellence in principles and practices while identifying unique and innovative ways of using job order contracting to complete construction projects. Repair, alteration, and maintenance work – the core of the job order contracting system – is essential for the safe and efficient use of public buildings and infrastructure. While essential, this work is often not glamorous. This award recognizes the facility owners and managers who perform this important function in an efficient and effective way.

“Each regional winner experienced the time and cost efficiency job order contracting brings to construction, repair and alteration projects,” said Robert Coffey, president and CEO of The Gordian Group. “Project owners also saw first-hand they can complete projects on time, on budget, and with the quality they require.”

The award is named for the inventor of job order contracting, Harry H. Mellon. He devised the system in 1982, which fostered a multi-billion-dollar industry that provides facility owners with a process to complete repair, alteration, maintenance and new-construction projects more efficiently and effectively, while saving time and money.

The award program was established in 2008. In addition to regional winners, one project is named the national winner. The national honor was presented to the New York City Department of Education for its Edible Schoolyard program. The following are the seven regional projects that were honored.

Other than America Training Center

The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT) saved 3 months and at least $300,000 building a replica of an Afghan village and marketplace for anti-terrorism training. With clients registered to use the facility before construction began, its owner chose job order contracting because work could begin quickly and a proven contractor working on another project could be used.

The $300,000 savings was realized by refining and documenting the process used to make and lay adobe bricks in the buildings. With a new method and using on-site equipment, the contractor reduced the cost of each of the 300,000 bricks by $1. The cost of the project was $2.5 million.

Additional savings came from eliminating the administrative costs associated with the competitive bidding process. With job order contracting in place, NMT’s chosen contractor had already agreed to complete specific jobs at specific prices. United States armed forces and federal law enforcement agencies train at the facility.

Upper Des Plaines TARP Reservoir road and facilities improvements

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago had two choices when facing budget cuts that would jeopardize a highly visible entrance improvement project. It could devote months to design the project and solicit bids and then risk losing funding when work began in the next fiscal year. Or, it could complete the project in the fiscal year using a job order contracting program already in place.

Twenty-eight days after deciding to use job order contracting, the project was underway, funded and scheduled for completion seven days earlier than initially planned. When completed, the cost of the Gloria Alitto Majewski Upper Des Plaines TARP Reservoir project was 16 percent lower than the original $115,000 budget to build and landscape the access road. The facility was also completed on schedule, allowing it to serve as the venue for a 30 year retirement ceremony for an outgoing board commissioner.

Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre

The diversity of the seven major upgrades to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre made it a great fit for job order contracting because the system offers a database of thousands of construction and alteration tasks from which to choose, priced specifically for the Richmond B.C. market in Canadian dollars. That flexibility allowed the City of Richmond, B.C., Canada, to order improvements the staff desired without lengthy and expensive design and bidding processes.

The completed projects included replacing the roof, outfitting a water heater with restraints to withstand earthquake tremors, installing a new fire alarm system, replacing some carpet and replacing exterior light fixtures at the entrance.

Compounding the variety of projects, time and timing were critically important. Contractors had to complete work without disrupting functions while also roofing the building before weather turned cold and wet. The City of Richmond, B.C. is the first Canadian agency to use job order contracting. The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre project, completed using The Gordian Group’s job order contracting system, came in 18 percent below estimates by the facility’s planner.

Pierce Hall Lab Renovation

Special items like fume hoods and hundreds of filing drawers with engraved numbers could not slow work to merge two classrooms into one science lab at the University of California Riverside. A full 1,400 sq. ft. of space was remodeled and refitted with hoods and laboratory-grade cabinetry and countertops, as well as new plumbing and lighting fixtures.

The $314,000 project was completed on schedule and in plenty of time for the first classes of the semester.

Collins Park Cultural Center

From the ground up, job order contracting guided renovations to the Bass Museum and Historical Rotunda at the Collins Park Cultural Center. The $6.56 million project encompassed a wide variety of site preparation, hardscape, lighting and restoration work. Job order contracting shaved months from the procurement process on this time sensitive project. The project was completed on time and $240,000 under the budget of $6.8 million.

Spring House Restoration

Public school officials in Loudoun County, Virginia, turned to job order contracting to have a registered historic landmark restored while a new high school was built at the same site. Known as the Spring House, the building was overgrown by vegetation and required major restoration.

Work on the $27,800 project began just 11 days after officials decided to separate the restoration from the school construction.

Buddy Holly Center Renovation

Keeping restoration of the Buddy Holly Center on track was the main driver behind the choice of job order contracting. Restoration of one entire building and a corridor in the complex tested the efficiency of job order contracting in terms of time and money.

Located in Lubbock’s historic Fort Worth and Denver South Plains Railway Depot, the center features a beautiful Mission, Spanish Revival style reminiscent of the 1920s era. Despite the meticulous restoration work required, the project was completed on time and under budget. The savings that resulted from using job order contracting spared enough money to have the statue of Buddy Holly restored as well.